According to Pew Research, around half of all adult Americans do some amount of online banking. As digital access to finances and other assets grow, those numbers are likely to increase, making it important for Nevada residents to consider online assets and access when planning for estate administration.
Experts advise that estate planning address both financially and sentimentally valuable digital assets. The first step in the process is to inventory all your online assets. The list should include accounts that you access online, but it might also include social media or storage accounts, such as Facebook or Dropbox.
While social media accounts may not be worth anything financially, you can use estate planning to make your wishes known about whether the accounts should be deleted or how you want them maintained posthumously. You may want all your accounts deleted or locked. Other individuals want their accounts memorialized for family, while still others are happy to have a trusted friend or family take over the account to continue sharing information with followers.
For utmost protection of your assets and wishes, include digital assets in wills or trusts. You can use legal documents to assign an administrator for your accounts, communicate information about accessing the accounts and lay out your wishes regarding the assets. Don't include log-in and password information in a will, though, because estate documents are often made public during probate. Instead, reference accounts and sites by name in your will, but provide instructions on where the appointed person can find log-in information. Many people keep a list in a safe deposit box or an encrypted computer file.
As with physical assets, digital assets should be described in detail in estate documents. By creating a comprehensive list with instructions, you can increase the chance your wishes will be followed after death.
Source: USA Today, "Estate Planning 101: Don't forget digital assets" Eric McWhinnie, May. 25, 2014